PTSD: Triggers & Flashbacks

pluto chariot I used to suffer PTSD / flashbacks. I became aware of this in my mid 20’s. It’s what sent me to therapy for three years.  I got a handle on this at the time of my Saturn return. I used the tools I picked up in therapy to resolve my triggers into my early 30’s. This worked, slowly but surely.  I got to a point where flashbacks were a rare occurrence. Eventually I stopped having them all together.

Last night, I had an honest to God, flashback. Oh man, I did not see it coming.  You won’t believe what triggered me. It’s the cuts on my back. The surgical incisions…

First, I can’t really see the cuts. I am not supposed to twist, so I can’t look over my shoulder, standing in front of a mirror. I could have my husband snap a pic. I thought of that but could not see any real gain from bothering him. Instead, I’ve just reached around and felt them with my hand, and asked my husband to describe what I’m feeling.

The incisions are glued shut. They hurt of course. The hurt on the surface; I am beyond the itchy phase of healing, I think. These cuts are tender.

My body beneath the cuts hurts as well. It’s a deep ache, which is what you should expect when you have two surgeries on your spine in the space of two days. I think you can probably imagine this if you try. I’m walking around, which is not at all challenging, but my gait has changed and my back is bolted (good) and I have these slices on my back. That’s what they are. The slices go up and down.

There was a point in my healing where fluid collected under each incision, per my husband. This normal. I am in a phase now, where the area around each slice is raised and hardening. This is all sort of nothing, up and until my psyche decided to equate this cuts with welts on my skin or my back, made by a belt or a belt buckle – I have suffered countless beatings of that kind.  I’m talking about being beaten on average, 3-4 times a week, intensely, for at least ten years.  That’s a lot beatings and it does not include being kicked and punched, smacked, and even having my arm broken at one point. It does not include being hit with other objects, books, shovels, hoes and even a sledgehammer. Nooooo.

This was about raised, bleeding welts left on my skin by a leather belt and here I am, decades later, suffering because of it.

I am not keen on child abuse, physical, sexual or emotional.  We’re supposed to shrug at it; it’s part of the business or part of life.

No it’s not.

Most of you know the Mars in Aries square the stellium in Capricorn aspects my ascendant / my physical body.  Here you go with your textbook astrology.  Thank God, I know how to deal with this.  But don’t expect me to be okay with harming innocent children. I am not okay and I hope these cowardly bullies are brought to justice.  It’s time.

26 thoughts on “PTSD: Triggers & Flashbacks”

  1. Hi Elsa,
    It breaks my heart to think that these experiences still can re-visit. I can say that schools are no longer shrugging at it. We have to view a child protective webinar yearly that reminds of the signs of possible child abuse, how to respond appropriately, and of the legal ramifications if we ignore the signals. I’m so happy you are physically on the mend and pray for your continued healing.


    1. Thank you.
      Turns out this is a trigger, I’ve never encountered before, therefore it was unresolved. I’ve never been cut like this, since I was cut like this. I got out of this beating situation when I was 15 years old. It’s not been pleasant but it is interesting.

      I sometimes work with traumatized clients. I always tell them, if there is something in there, unresolved, and you can get at it, it’s best if you do. It’s like pulling a shard of glass from your foot. Don’t leave it there, if you have the option.

      I’ve simply never hit this trigger in all these years. Hip surgery didn’t do it, because I could see the incision – it was very clear, someone removed my hip joint. This surgery provided just the right mix of deep pain + cuts on the surface, to recreate these feelings.

      Oh my God. That’s all I can say. You do not want to be an abused kid – no, you do not!

      On the upside, what I learned decades ago, still works. I can get out of a flashback. And I have this blog where I can come tell people about this, which I know will open doors (and minds).

      All I can say is, crap. I’m taking the rest of the day off.

  2. I stand with you in your beliefs, and your body’s deep wisdom. In my personal experience, as Mars squares the Capricorn stellium just into my 1st House, old, old abuses surface. “The welts” rise and I get through the night with present-day tools. ElsaElsa is one of them. Thank you strong, precious, generous Elsa. xxoo Moki

  3. Yes, Elsa I too have PTSD and flashbacks from an abusive childhood. My mother had schizophrenia and it added to my hyper awareness of taking the temperature of every room I enter. I had to for survival because I had to read my mother to know when she was in her darkest mood/mindset. However, as an adult I am learning that this behavior is exhausting and doesn’t always serve me well. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. What is going on with Flashback City lately? Ye gads. I am flashing back to stuff like crazy. I am glad I am not the only one or I would think it was dimentia setting in or something. And then there is this multiplier thing going on. Simple example would be my friend shows me her sage plant and then I see the writes on this site about sage. Very odd!!!

  5. Elsa – Maybe your back surgery “released” more childhood cell memories, beckoning you to further resolve residual issues. It’s heartbreaking to read of the spirit-crushing experiences you endured in your childhood. So glad you’ve directed these Plutonian traumas to a higher good calling – your astrology blog.

    Rest well and take it easy. xo

  6. Avatar

    I can only say silent and read and absorb. Thanks for sharing this Elsa… not for any reason but to let us know what it’s like. And the deep locked up pain that can happen as a result.

  7. It’s just a trip. The surgery created physical pains that mimic physical pains I’ve felt before. You get wrenched around during surgery. Clamps on your body and such. There is another element here too.

    I’ve got the welts and the deep pain but I also have all these other pains which I think are brought on my having my gait corrected. I am standing up normally now. I look like a proper Capricorn rising!

    But I was put this way and bolted in place. I have been walking messed-up, compensating for a LONG time. So muscles are out of shape if not something more akin to atrophied. This is clearly a good thing. It’s a thing that will work itself out over time. But I’m trying to describe the complex state of my body – this is what it took to allow me (or force me) to relive / re-experience some elements of my childhood.

  8. ((((((Elsa))))))

    Not to mention the pain of feeling only conditionally loved……

    Hope you feel better soon, inside and out.

  9. My back is definitely healing. My husband trimmed pieces of the glue used to close the incisions. It sort of pops out of the crevices as the scar forms. I could feel inch-long strips that were separated from the wound but still stuck to it. Ugh!

    Point is, the cuts are closing and becoming smoothed over. I glad. I can’t leave this behind me fast enough.

  10. Elsa,

    I too have been abused and for me this is very recent. It has been a year but I’m nowhere near healed. I was hoping that time will heal and I’ll feel better.. Everything seems to trigger me. Elsa, I wanted to ask. Are there any resources on the internet or books you can recommend? Just looking for something to help myself without going to therapy. To be absolutely honest I just feel like no therapist or anyone else will be able to help but then I also read that this is one of the symptoms of c-ptsd.

    1. Iryna, I’m so sorry you’re hurting. I wish I could advise you but in did this work long ago, working one on one with a therapist. I always said it was the best investment I ever made. Personally, I don’t think I could have cracked this without another human being involved. I hope someone stops by with something more helpful.

      1. Thank you for your reply Elsa. Truly I am glad that you got out of that emotional hell and also that your surgery went so well. Stay strong superwoman!

    2. The book : Toxic parents from Susan Forward could do something. And I’m listening a lot to binaural meditations on YouTube. With spoken meditations.

      Lots of light to you !

  11. Reading this has touched me so emotionally, I’m so sorry Elsa, such deep trauma, the suffering you have endured, and survived and turned it all around. You are amazing to share this so openly, I’m not sure I could. . . heal well Elsa dear, those deep wounds of the psyche and soul are calling out through physical attention to be healed.

  12. Hi,

    I have been abused during childhood, and with all this heavy Capricorn weather that is squaring my moon I have gone to my doctor to ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. Tomorrow I can call to make an appointment, I feel that I can’t do it alone anymore . I’m ready for change , I am also reading a book : toxic parents from Susan Forward. And the things that I’ve read till now really click. So I recommend that book.
    Having nightmares about my childhood and the abuse. I’m ready to start anew, I know it will take a good amount of time. But I’m eager to move on from that .
    Lots of light to all of you!

  13. Thanks for sharing Elsa–harrowing stuff–but fasacinating.
    As a society (i am in EU but it applies widely) it still seems to be too painful (ouch!) to come to terms with the extent to which floggings and brutality were at the centre of social life. Fortunately we seem to be moving away from that but there is still a long way to go globally. Best wishes for your recovery from surgery.

  14. (((((Elsa)))

    Wow! I am so sorry.
    You are truly an amazing soul?
    And you are a true Phoenix mixed with a lot of Goat. Lol
    So I know deep down you’ll be able to work through this and come out stronger and wiser on the other side. And what you learn and share with us will help us all continue to grow ?

  15. Kisses, today has promise to be better,I too have the glass too deep to take out, will never understand one who hurts another, I try to have the carrot on the stick or sad can keep me tucked in bed. New times, hopefully creeps can’t hide
    Or be so invisible
    You were a beautiful little girl
    One to be hugged and kissed and some one bad was there and you never deserved to be hurt. I think
    You have a loving husband to hold you.Take a power nap on this holiday
    If you two have that chance.

  16. I’ll be interested if anyone can share tools that can be applied generally. I have been having success doing this type of work to deal with my personal issues, but I’m struggling to help someone else who has very, very limited abilities to process her own trauma and face her own challenges, which are way more severe and complex than my own. I’m the only person that she’s been talking to, and I’m doing he best I can do – building on the things that have been helping for myself. It just sucks not knowing the right thing to say to someone who has suffered beyond comprehension.

  17. When I read this post, an image popped into my brain. It’s from Maleficent, the recent movie, where Angelina Jolie wakes up after a night with her friend and he has cut off her wings. Deep welts rise up on her back.

    Your blog post felt just like that. The betrayal, the hurt (physically and emotionally), the despair, her black eyes… Inside torment that went outside and transformed her.
    In the movie the king who did this, turns insane with the fear of his own guilt. If that’s not Pluto, I don’t know what is.

    I wish your soul healing and peace from all its cuts, Elsa <3

  18. I am sorry to hear you are having these flashbacks while trying to heal from your surgeries.Like you I often feel like I have got them under control and out of no where they will pop up.I hope you feel better soon.

  19. I have no words. I know your feelings for your folks have evolved as you healed and moved on, but I do want to take a belt and explain to those adults in charge, how it feels to be on the other end! I am so, so angry! Fortunately, they underestimated your innate strength and the capacity to do so much good with your talents borne out of life experiences. Loads of love and healing prayers for you. Hope you and husband (who I believe had had some health scares last year too) have a peaceful and healthy year ahead. Huge hugs!

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